To Cut is to Cure

Task force encourages bariatric surgery for obese diabetics

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Surgeons often jokingly say, “To cut is to cure”, referring to their preference for surgical solutions over internal medicine therapies. Well, now it appears the International Diabetes Foundation (IDF) is at least in part embracing this mantra.

The IDF Task Force on Epidemiology and Prevention of Diabetes has arrived at an interesting conclusion. The bariatric surgery option for patients with type 2 diabetes and obesity is a cost-effective therapy and has an acceptable safety profile.

They also recommended moving the bariatric surgery option to a much earlier time in the treatment of these patients instead of as a last resort treatment.

dailyRx Insight: Obese, type 2 diabetics should explore bariatric surgery options.

Early bariatric surgery is appropriate when patients treatment goals are not being met with the traditional treatment protocol, especially when additional complications like sleep apnea, hypertension, and high cholesterol. They should also have a body mass index(BMI) of more than 35%.

Members of the task force, an elite group of 20 experts on diabetes and bariatric surgery, gave several reasons for the recommendation. Researchers urge the public to understand  obese type 2 diabetic patients simply cannot lose weight and maintain the weight loss. If these patients do receive bariatric surgery, there is a chance of remission in 80% of the cases.

Also, the urgent need for worldwide guidance in the use of bariatric surgery encouraged this first time ever endorsement of bariatric surgery by any international medical organization. Implementation of the newer recommendation of early bariatric surgery may not be practical for nations’ whose health care budgets are limited.

Nearly 26 million individuals are affected by diabetes in the United States each year, with about seven million people going undiagnosed. Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease with no cure in which a person has high blood sugar because the body does not produce enough insulin (Type 1) or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced (Type 2). There are three main types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational. Several groups of oral drugs, are effective for Type 2, such as Glucophage®, Glucotrol®, and Prandin®, among many others. The therapeutic combination in Type 2 may eventually include injected insulin as symptoms worsen. Along with the presence of physical symptoms, a common blood test known as the A1c can test for the disease.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
March 28, 2011
Last Updated:
March 30, 2011